The Truth About Hollow Point Bullets

Published by the LearnAboutGuns.com Author on April 15, 2008 at 9:59 pm
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There seems to be a good deal of confusion surrounding hollow point bullets, and the state of New Jersey has even enacted a partial ban on hollow points. This article is intended to help clear things up.

A jacked hollow point bullet

Hollow points, sometime called “dum dum”, “expanding point”, “controlled expansion”, “jacketed hollow point (JHP)”, etc. are a basically bullets which expand or “mushroom” after hitting their target. Leaving aside discussion of the technical differences between these names, such expansion makes the bullets more effective when defending yourself, less likely to over penetrate and injure innocent bystanders, and more humane when hunting animals. Each of these attributes of hollow point bullets are discussed below.

Hollow Point Bullets are More Effective When Defending Yourself

Hollow point bullets are more effective than their non expanding counterparts (such as full metal jacket bullets). This is because the front of a hollow point bullet will flatten out after it hits it target, causing the bullet to do more damage. Since self defense with a firearm is a life or death situation, the person defending themselves will want to stop an attacker as quickly as possible. The additional frontal diameter a hollow point offers is more likely to hit an attacker in a way that causes them to stop right then and there, before the attacker can harm the victim further.
This greater potential to inflict injury or death is what causes some people to vilify hollow point bullets, but such an opinion fails to consider the life or death situation of self defense. A person, by definition of self defense or defense of another, is not justified in firing their gun at another human unless it truly is to save their own life or the life of another innocent victim. Under these grave circumstances, a person is not only justified but also compelled to act, and when acting the innocent person who is defending themselves should have the best means of defense available. To use an analogy, saying that crime victims should not have access to hollow point bullets would be like saying that a crime victim must stop a home invader by using a butter knife instead of a butcher knife. Such an approach would favor the criminal who is in the wrong and out to harm an innocent. Furthermore, since criminals would ignore a hollow point ban (just as they ignore gun bans, and the laws against murder and robbery) the law abiding crime victim would be placed at a further disadvantage.

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Hollow Point Bullets are Safer for Innocent Bystanders

Hollow point bullets are also safer for innocent bystanders, as a hollow point bullet is less likely to over penetrate and strike them. This is because the hollow point bullet will mushroom after hitting its target, and will therefore be less streamlined as it goes through its target. The result is that the hollow point bullet may not exit its target at all, or if it does exit it will do so at a much lower speed than a non hollow point bullet would. Even if the hollow point bullet does exit its target, it is now less able to penetrate walls or other surfaces, due to the way the front of the bullet flattened. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, the expanded hollow point bullet will also fly a shorter distance through the air, resulting in less likelihood of striking an innocent bystander.

Hollow Point Bullets are More Humane For Hunting

Generally speaking, hollow point bullets are more humane when hunting. Just as a hollow point bullet will have a better chance of quickly stopping an attacker when used in self defense, a hollow point bullet will have a better chance of quickly stopping the hunter’s target. A hollow point bullet is more likely to strike a deer or other animal’s vital organs, resulting in a quick and humane kill, instead than causing the animal to suffer. Even in countries such as the UK where hollow point bullets are widely banned, they can be acquired for the purpose of humane deer hunting. Indeed some areas *require* the use of hollow point bullets when hunting, to help ensure a humane kill.

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Hopefully this short article has cleared up of the misconceptions surrounding hollow point bullets.

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  • http://www.CaliforniaConcealedCarry.com TBJ

    Another advantage, pointed out by Massad Ayoob, is that there is an increased likelyhood of one or two hollowpoints doing the job (stopping the bad guy), whereas it will take several more non-expanding bullets to do the same job. This means that it is actually more likely that a surgeon can save the life of an injured person as there are fewer wound channels to open up when repairing the damage.

  • http://lifehunting.com goose hunting

    Great post! Thanks for all the good info you have posted here. I have enjoyed my stay.

  • http://yahoo.com Tammy Gore

    Was wondering if a person was shot by another holding the gun straight to your chest and was shot with a Hollow point what would the exit wound look like?And what would the damage be?Also if they use a 22 wriffle?

  • Herrbaggs

    The article on hollow point bullets is only about half right. To get the correct facts one needs to investigate some of the ballistics sites. A face full of buckshot is the only guaranteed man stopper.

    • gigbab

      This would alos be untrue. I saw a man survive a point blank range shot to the face with 12 ga 00 buck. he was still living last I heard, he was just missing his entire lower jaw.

      • Buckshot

        Yea, he might have lived but I would guarantee he stopped what he was doing…

      • hicusdicus

        So What? Did it stop him instantly from continuing what he was doing? I find it hard to believe that a man missing his entire lower jaw would still be a threat. That is what self defense is all about, Deterrence. killing or wounding is secondary. A man shot in the heart has about 8 to 10 sec to return fire. A man shot in the face with any kind of shot gun load will be deterred from returning lethal fire.

  • http://www.netbay.com Andrew N

    I sitting here in Sydney Australia love what you do.

    I live in a violent area and I'm a law abiding citizen but our country is very tough on who gets a gun permit.

    If I had my way I'd buy a Remington 870 Uzi or Ak-47.

    Now a Glock Pistol or Beretta would be nice but an Ingrum mac 10 or FN FAL would be good enough.

    I like Glazor safety slugs, .444 Marlin

    silver tips 44 magnums and 300 Winchester.

    Winchester still are one of the most reliable.

    These .357 rounds are fire works and not much punch. One might as well use a .38 rim SNW special.

    Things are going to change in this country mark my words.

    Our leaders are hypocrits, P.M RuD used to own a Sako .22 Haunet

    from Enthusiast

  • ohhhvic

    I see as lot of weapons enthusiast over here..
    Why don't you buy a war cannon and carry that with you everywhere?
    Traditionally weapons bring more tragedy than protection for people..
    And that's the REAL SAD story

  • sue

    I decided to mercy kill a possum in my yard that had been gut ripped by coyotes. I shot it twice at close range with my glock, laser light, hollow points. The first bullet just took a leg off. After the second bullet he was still breathing. I felt so bad I couldn't shoot him again. I just sat there with him til he died. What did I do wrong? I feel terrible! Are slugs better for very close range shooting?

    • Cor

      You didn't mercy kill him. YOU JUST TORTURED THE POOR ANIMAL MORE! You would have done him more justice to let him be. You're a horrible shot (blowing off legs, etc..). You could have just shot it in the head at point blank range! Insane…

      • sue

        fuck you

        • MadDog

          The truth hurts.

          • https://www.stage32.com/media/1090696365660447266 John Reynaga

            Yes the truth hurts. You are a retard.